So you want to make a cosplay? You know what you want to make, you’ve chosen that Character you love from the series you just finished watching but you have no idea what you need? WEll this blog is just a basic kit guide of things you may want to have in your Cosplay Box. Some things you get through time, you don’t need everything straight off, and don’t get me wrong this isn’t a “This is what you need now go buy it!” blog, this is a decent guide of things that can be good to include in your box, and what they do, mostly for beginners or those who want to remind themselves or buy new things for their box.
Some things like fabric and patterns and the main materials will build up over time, foam included, so we won’t worry about those sorts of things, although they may be mentioned.
Fabric based cosplays! these cosplays will need different tools to your armour or prop making boxes. So what do you need?
It sounds obvious but even if you have a sewing machine a small pack of variety of needles is a must, there are needles for everything, and not all sewing machines can sew all fabrics. Needles are also good for tacking (lose stitching everything together before putting it under the sewing machine) , embroidery, buttons and fastenings, small details.
To pin your fabric together before sewing, to pin your pattern to your fabric, To put cut out pieces together and see if it looks good/is right before dedicating hours of sewing it together to find out its not.
You might want to buy your actual thread for your project with your fabric, this way you will always buy the right colour for the fabric, but i like to always keep a reel of black and a reel of white cotton thread in my box, For tacking and other such things such as hidden fastenings.
Chalk for fabric, To draw your patterns onto the fabric, this rubs and washed off very easily compared to normal chalk so you don’t have nasty lines left behind later as you would with anything else.
I use three pairs of scissors some people more. the three I have are Dressmakers scissors, these are big long bladed scissors specially designed for cutting fabric. Then i have my embroidery scissors. these i use for cutting threads and taking out threads when i make a mistake (some people use other things but this is my preference) the third pair is a general pair for paper, tape, ribbon and pattern cutting so as not to get anything sticky or dirty from the blade of the scissors onto your fabric.
Sounds silly, but an Iron is a great tool, ok it wont fit in your box but having an iron to press your seams before sewing Iron your fabric before cutting makes a BIG difference, and of course ironing it when you’ve finished.
A Tailors measuring tape not one of those hard DIY ones for measuring shelves and furniture. one for measuring you and your fabric I personally also have a yard ruler (a wooden one) for fabric and pattern making but a tailors one will do.
Old Clean Tea Towel
A strange one no? This is for ironing. Lay it over your fabric if you think it is delicate (like ribbon to stop it from melting), and/or to stop you getting marks from the iron onto your fabric.
To make your own patterns with, or adjust existing ones.
Well you have to keep it all somewhere right? I have several boxes, a box for fabric, a box for foam and crafty bits, and another for the sewing side, all with lots of compartments in for pins and needles to be kept separately, a mini toolbox from a hardware store, or a small make up travel box works amazingly well. this means you can also take it to cons with you if its a small box, for those handy repairs!
Sewing MAchines are not necessary but boy do they speed things up, or help you if you’re not good at hand sewing, but remember with this to get spare needles bobbins etc. And not all sewing machines will do all fabrics and cover all types of sewing. If you’ve not used one before, Practice first!
Hemming tape is great if you’re in a urry, or want to seal the hems together before you sew. It is an iron on tape that binds fabric together, no i don’t suggest using it on your whole costume, its not that strong. but it will help it all look tidier.
Armour Cosplays, there are some extra bits and pieces, Depending on what materials you are planning to use.
PVA is great to water down for paper mache but its best use with armour making is for priming and coating foam to make it more armour like. and helping it keep its shape once its moulded and formed. also great for priming wonderflex.
In my opinion Wallpaper paste cheap as chips and is THE best to use for paper mache, its strong, it holds, and you can sand it without stringy attachments of any kind. Think if it can hold heavy weight wallpaper on the walls for many many years, double the strength, a few layers and its quite sturdy for props and armour.
And possibly some pliers (wire cutters). you need seperate ones from your fabric, the glue and materials are thicker and colours transfer and what not. so you need a pair for being dirty! but remember they need to be strong and sturdy.
Hot air gun
Or a really good hair drier. for forming foam and thermoplastics. Alternatively though you can also use boiling hot water, but which ever just be careful not to burn or scold yourselves.
Glue gun gives instant results and glues things some glues just won’t.
The all powerful! for plastics and stuff, that would melt under hot temperatures, also good for your con quick fix bag.
Black paint is great for making things look older like a rub and buff in a way. But the best thing is if you are after a metallic look, paint your prop or armour black first, then put the metallic on over top, it will look so much more metallic shinier and an overall better result.
Bottle filled with water
Wait what? Yeah! this bottle is your tool for foam and thermoplastic forming! Its a great help trust me, and it saves you from burning your arms and legs.
Masking tape to make patterns for armour and/or your own dress form (duct tape works well too, its also handy for when you use expanding foam to cover up holes or smooth off edges before using papier mache or worbla or anything else of the like.
Well I hope that helps even just a little bit, I will be writing more about other materials and what they are later on, so keep an eye out!